New Name, More Locations From New Owners Of Better Place’s Charging Infrastructure

4 years ago by Jay Cole 3

The Original Better Place Demo Center In Israel

The Original Better Place Demo Center In Israel

New potential owners of Better Place’s charging infrastructure – Tzachi Merkur (codename Success Assets) have announced a couple changes for the failed Israeli charging company which they bought for NIS 11 million in August after Yosef Abramowitz’s Green EV failed to raise the necessary funds for the company.

UPDATE October 9th, 2013:  Apparently Merkur also failed to provide appropriate deposit funds for Better Place and the sale is now on hold

Original Plans Called For Better Place To Keep 15 Of 37 Existing Swap Stations Operational

Original Plans Called For Better Place To Keep 15 Of 37 Existing Swap Stations Operational

Since agreeing to acquiring the company, Tzachi Merkur had been quiet on their plains for the stations already in place; turns out those will continue to operate, plus the company will add stations throughout Israel under the brand.  That is the good news for current (and future) Better Place customers.

The bad news?

Only an unfortunate name change.  Better Place charging will now be known as DRiiVZ-Better Place; we think the old name was just fine, and probably the plug-in world has had just about enough cute plays on the electric transportation.

In truth, DRiiVZ is actually the name of the company that Tzachi Merkur has hired to manage the charging network, and well as all of the billing and services for the company.

More Of These Stations - Less Of The Swap Stations

More Of These Stations – Less Of The Swap Stations

The new company will also offer a Hebrew smartphone app for Better Place customers that will provide a more interactive map of the status of stations – whether they are in use or not, as well as a navigation system for reaching them.  This system will replace the current format seen inside Fluence ZE cars in Israel.

At time of press the company did not put a number on how many new stations would be put in place, but did state that some will be located in the parking lots of Merkur facilities – considering they are in the “parking facility” business, that could be substantial.

Haaretz

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3 responses to "New Name, More Locations From New Owners Of Better Place’s Charging Infrastructure"

  1. Assaf says:

    Funny Jay,

    Since the Sunrise deal fell through I’m seeing more mention of Better Place here than in the Hebrew-language Israeli press. For most Israelis except the <1000 who actually drive a Fluence ZE, Better Place is all but dead.

    All for the better: I think the entire EV thing in Israel needs a time to recuperate away from the limelight. It doesn't take too much to retain a positive ownership experience among current EV drivers in Israel, and seems like the new management should be able to make it happen. We can't really expect much more right now.

    Oh, btw: seems like the Leaf has officially launched over there, so those Israelis willing to dip into the EV experience can get a better vetted option.

  2. Assaf says:

    Oops, I spoke too soon x2:

    1. Found the story hidden in the back pages: http://www.themarker.com/dynamo/1.2129204 (try Google translate if u don’t read Hebrew).

    2. As to “positive ownership experience” – my foot. Here’s the new package DrivzzzzzBP is forcing upon its captive consumers:

    – Battery lease NIS 400-700/month (recall: BP customers only bought the rest of the car and leased the battery. not sure why the price range). Limited to 1500km/month, with NIS 0.48/km on excess driving.
    – Home L2 lease NIS 100/month (BP installed those in customer homes)
    – Use of public L2 NIS 200/month
    – Battery swap NIS 100/month (with network cut to 15 stations nationwide from the 38 set up by BP)
    – They still have to pay the utility for the home L2’s juice, estimated at NIS 80/month.

    The Marker (Haaretz’s business paper) estimated that for the average Israeli driver this comes out to NIS 944/month, vs. 942/month with BP’s last package before going bust, and a little over NIS 1000 for a typical ICE car.

    Currently 1 US $ is trading around 3.5 NIS. Do the conversion to see the rip-off. Also, keep in mind that AFAIK, at least at present home-trickle charging is strictly forbidden. I’m not even sure that Israel’s Fluence ZE drivers ever received trickle-charge cable.

    This, for customers that have been dragged through BP’s bankruptcy mud, Sunrise’s false hope, and left stranded in general.

    Merkur (the new owner) is following the classic Israeli monopolistic business practice of nickeling and diming the customer to death as if they will never have any choice. Of course, the old BP did the same, but they at least had built the network. Merkur is just a small-time vulture capitalist.

    Hopefully the Fluence drivers’ association will give him a good kick in the balls. One also wonders why’d he ever be so stupid, when he has 350 Fluences in inventory which he ostensibly wants to sell to someone rather than see rot in the dealership lot.

  3. kdawg says:

    Surprised they didn’t rename it iBetter iPlace.